Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spirit Animal, Eytan & the Embassy, Nico Vega at Santos Party House 02.19.13

It's the beginning of something new. I'm shooting for another blog called Surviving the Golden Age and I'm trying my hand at writing reviews as well!

Head on over to their site to read my full review for this show.

You know what's the best part about writing a review for someone else? I get to post the pictures here and not have to struggle with the words. I've already done the hard work. That being said, I will include some of my experiences throughout the night, more so photography wise.

While the light seems to look just fine in these shots, it was some of the toughest I've shot against. It worked out better for Spirit Animal and Nico Vega because they pushed forward to the edge of the stage. Honestly, more of the light was hitting the front of the audience than the stage.

I was a little unkind to Spirit Animal in my review. I don't like when a performer panders to the camera. I'll get my shots, I don't need the cheese, thanks. I didn't and won't post pictures when you get in my face. What annoyed me the most is that Cooper jumped off the stage AT me. I'm all about you being energetic and enthusiastic, but don't jump at my camera. I, and more importantly my lens, got covered in your sweat which is both gross and caused me to stop shooting to clean off said sweat.

I had a chance to experiment more with my Polaroids at this show. It's the first time I've tested out the combination of a faster film speed with a neutral density filter. While this wasn't the ideal lighting conditions, hence the long exposure, I got some fun results. The problem with this particular film is that it takes a full half hour to develop after it's been shot, so you won't know the results before you take another picture.

I came out in support of Eytan and the Embassy, which I've shot a few times now. What's fun about covering a band multiple times is that you have a better feel for the way they set up and move on the stage. Shooting a band with a front man that plays keyboard is tough because of the angles. The past couple of times, I've shot pointing towards Eytan to be able to see his face, but you lose the sense of his instrument, it just ends up as a big ol box in the photographs. I picked the left side of the stage to work around that, knowing that he also turns and faces the crowd a lot when he sings.

Ah, the fog machine, which is now more dreaded than blue light. You can't work around a fog machine, much less one that pumps out mercilessly all night long. It essentially throws off the focus on my camera; often times locking on to the haze in front of the performer. Darn you, 5D Mark III for having such sensitive sensors.

All things considered, I got a few decent shots. One day, Eytan and the Embassy are going to play some beautifully lit venue and I'm going to have a field day.

With no idea what the first Polaroid would look like, I decided to take another with the addition of a flashbar. Judging by the sound of long shutter from the first shot, I knew I needed more light. I'm pretty sure the exposure is spot on, but the flash reflected the fog. Either way, it's a cool shot. It looks like it's straight out of the 60's, which fits the band's image perfectly.

Nico Vega was a lot of fun for me to shoot. Aja Volkman had a great energy that translated so well in photographs. Yes, I was still having some issues with the light and fog. There was a great moment where she climbed atop the drum kit, but there wasn't enough contrast in the photos to work with. What I respected the most was that she gave me plenty of opportunities to capture her passion, without looking fake. She walked in front of the stage monitors, right at me, but kept her focus on her fans. Learn from that, Spirit Animal!

I was hoping there would be enough light for this Polaroid; the lights were slightly brighter for the headlining band. Aja Volkman stepped up to a looping machine at the front of the stage, so I took a deep breath and prepared myself just in case it was another long exposure. It was and Volkman moves around quite a bit on stage. There are some nice colors, but a whole lot of ghosting.

Even though it was a bit of a hustle for me to make it into the city on a Tuesday night, I was glad I made the effort. I felt much more confident doing my concert review for StGA with at least one band I was familiar with. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know how much I struggle with writing about music. It's a great skill for me to improve upon and will hopefully lead to more coverage in the future. As always, I'll close out with shoes, or lack thereof.

Can it still be considered a shoe shot if the performer is barefoot?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Spirit Animal & Nico Vega Teasers

Steve Cooper of Spirit Animal

Rich Koehler of Nico Vega

Aja Volkman of Nico Vega

Christopher Walken at Stage One in Stratford 02.17.13

Every now and then, I get to cover something pretty extraordinary thanks to the day job. When I found out that Christopher Walken was going to tour the old Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and then sit down for an interview, I expressed my interest to the editorial staff. A few days before the event, I was able to connect with someone else who was filming and needed an extra videographer. I was one of six cameras rolling and since I have more experience in stills, I was asked to capture those moments.

Walken stopped by Lil Moes before heading over to Stage One to surprise the patrons there. It quickly became a mob scene with photographers from various news outlets, so I ducked out and headed back to Stage One.

I'll be honest, I'm pretty shy in general and was completely terrified to even speak to Christopher Walken. They wanted shots of him being mic'ed up, so I very meekly waved my hand to direct his attention to my camera.

There was a jazz three piece playing before Walken took the stage.

Matt Catalano, the executive director for the Stratford Commission for the Arts, spoke briefly about their efforts to restore the Shakespeare Theatre.

While my main focus was to shoot video, I made sure to snap a few photos as Walken came out. There were multiple cameras rolling and my shots would be used as details where needed. While you can clearly see the intensity that so easily threw me, Walken recalled some of his acting memories fondly. He had an absolute dead pan sense of timing, pausing ever so slightly after making a joke. At first, the audience was unsure whether or not they were allowed to laugh.


Everyone I worked with was blown away by the experience and I have to say, it was quite the opportunity. We were chattering on like giddy school children for an hour after Walken left as we dumped files onto an external hard drive.

To read the story that ran in the Stratford Star, click here.

And as always, I couldn't pass up the shoes.